Wife of disappeared Karen activist ‘still waiting for justice’

Wife of disappeared Karen activist ‘still waiting for justice’

Pinnapa Prueksapan, wife of missing Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, talks to reporters, with by Surapong Kongjantuk, chairman of the Cross Cultural Foundation, by her side, at the Office of the Attorney-General on Thursday. (Photo: King-oua Laohong)
Pinnapa Prueksapan, wife of missing Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, talks to reporters, with by Surapong Kongjantuk, chairman of the Cross Cultural Foundation, by her side, at the Office of the Attorney-General on Thursday. (Photo: King-oua Laohong)

The wife of Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, a victim of a 2014 forced disappearance who is now believed dead, on Thursday renewed her call for legal action in the long-delayed case.

During a visit to the Office of the Attorney-General Pinnapa Prueksapan also urged the OAG to hasten its handling of the 2011 forceful eviction of Karen villagers from Bang Kloy forest village in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi.

Both cases are linked to a single prime suspect, Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, a former head of the park.

Accompanied by Surapong Kongjantuk, chairman of the Cross Cultural Foundation, Ms Pinnapa submitted to the OAG a petition requesting that stalled legal proceedings in both cases be accelerated.

“It’s now been 11 years since the village was burned down and eight years since Billy was killed … I’m still waiting for justice to be done and the culprits to be brought to justice,” she said.

In her husband's case, the OAG is expected to soon reach a final decision on the indictment of the suspects charged by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in connection with his disappearance, acording to Prayuth Petchkhun, deputy spokesman for the OAG who received the petition from Ms Pinnapa.

Prosecutors previously decided to indict Mr Chaiwat and other suspects on some charges recommended by the DSI, and asked the DSI to investigate further and provide more evidence for other possible charges against the suspects, Mr Prayuth said.

The DSI in 2019 recommended that prosecutors press up to eight charges, including premeditated murder and concealing human remains. The DSI earlier determined that found bone fragments were Porlajee’s. Fragments of what was believed to be his skull were retrieved from the Kaeng Krachan reservoir.

But an OAG panel later found there was not enough evidence that the bone fragments belonged to Porlajee. As a consequence, there was insufficient proof to link the suspects to the murder.

As for the eviction case, Mr Prayuth said, the OAG had recommended that the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission include more charges under two more sections of the Criminal Code and re-submit its indictment request.

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